We at the Babbling Bear applaud the Royal Society of Chemistry for their heroic action in preventing the kind of microaggressions that words, depictions, and imagery have on historically marginalized communities. As they say in the journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, [w]e have a shared responsibility to guard against all forms of discrimination or exclusion. We expect all staff, authors, reviewers and editors to cooperate with measures introduced to ensure inclusion and non-discriminatory conduct. Our aim is for all published material to be respectful, accurate and relevant.
We understand that [t]he aim of this guidance is to help [us] to identify and prevent the publication of inappropriate content in our journals and books, and to encourage [us] to reflect on how inappropriate content can impact members of the community and readers around the world. After all, [w]ords, depictions and imagery have the potential to cause offence, therefore we need to consider how content might be perceived by others. There can be a disparity between the intention of an author and how their content might be received – it is the perception of the recipient that determines offence, regardless of author intent. This highlights the need for scrutiny and awareness at all stages from content creation to publication.
We agree with and salute you. However, we must speak up on another issue. Using the word Society in the title of your journals is bad enough, but can you think of a less diverse, equitable, and inclusive word than Royal?
After licking our microaggression wounds, we here at the Babbling Bear demand that you cease and desist using the word “royal” in your journals.
We call on John H. Herbert et al., who wrote a paper entitled, Words Matter: On the Debate over Free Speech, Inclusivity, and Academic Excellence, to support our demand.
More than anybody, these eminent scientists know how “words and actions intersect and impact the human sphere” as evidenced by the support they give to the cleansing of Thomáš Hudlickýs contrarian view. As they say, promoting inclusivity through cancelation, is nothing like the actions of a totalitarian government.
While all the people and organizations mentioned so far are all on the same page when it comes to cancel culture, we are grateful to Anna I. Krylov for writing three contrarian papers that made us aware of the danger that we the censors face. We cannot and must not rest since there are still one hundred or so people in academia who reject cancel culture and defend the core principle of science as the free exchange of ideas in the pursuit of truth.
The Peril of Politicizing Science
Scientists must resist cancel culture
Royal Society of Chemistry Provides Guidelines for Censorship to Its Editors